Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squashes
- 1 pound italian sausage, without the cases
- 1/2 lb crimini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1.5 cups cooked white, black, brown or wild rice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tbs butter
- generous pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus a bit more for topping
- 1/4 cup white wine
Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and insides. Place 1/2 tbs butter inside each half and salt generously. Bake, covered with foil at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until the flesh is tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the italian sausage until it is no longer pink. Remove sausage and set aside. In the same pan, saute the onion, carrot and garlic until the onion is nice and soft. Add the mushrooms and saute until they've shrunk down and become soft. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, then simmer and reduce the wine; this will take only a few moments. Then add the sausage back in, along with the cooked rice and the shredded parmesan cheese. Taste the mixture, add salt and pepper if needed (whether this is needed depends greatly on the sausage!)
Stuff the squashes, piling the mixture a bit above the rims of the cups. Place back in the oven and bake at 400 for another 10-15 minutes, until mixture is bubbly. Pull out and top with more grated cheese; return to oven and let the cheese melt and just start to brown.
You can, as I did, fake the italian sausage by mixing salt, ground fennel seed (Freshly ground!!), sage, red pepper flakes, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, smoked paprika and garlic. Mix well with the ground pork, and let sit for an hour or two (if you have it, I didn't, it worked out just fine) to let the meat soak up the flavors.
Oh yeah, the onion and carrot should've been joined by celery to be classic mirepoix but I had none on hand. Feel free to assume that it should be in there.
Also, let's be totally honest: There's a million ways you can do this to personalize it. Make the flavors in the stuffing balance in any way that fits your palette. The important part is to balance some salt, umami and rice to mix with the squash. For my, the cheese was the thing that put the mixture over the top; that deep flavor of parmesan with the mushroom and sausage was a big hit, at least with the adults. The kids ate leftover pizza instead. :)